U.S. Equity Markets traded sideways to higher for most of yesterday’s trading session before selling off into the close, led by the Dow which closed with a loss of 0.94%, while the Small Cap Russell 2000 fell a hefty 3.58%. Equity Markets did not have much direction in morning trade, but sold off into the close. Some of Monday’s vaccine optimism was tempered, after the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases questioned whether AstraZeneca’s vaccine data were up to date. This is the latest concern regarding that vaccine. Also, on the vaccine front, reports suggested that Johnson & Johnson will not meet its goal of delivering 20 million doses this month, potentially slowing the pace of vaccinations. Housing Market data continued to show a February slump. New Home Sales fell to the lowest level since last summer, as cold weather hampered demand for newly built homes. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen both gave testimonies to Congress yesterday. Powell reiterated that policy will remain accommodative, and the Fed will give advanced notice before tapering Asset Purchases. He added that the recent stimulus package is unlikely to cause undesirable inflation. Yellen, in her testimony, said that she sees the U.S. achieving full employment again by 2022. European Markets closed lower. European Central Bank Executive Board Member Philip Lane said the Euro-Zone is still facing a difficult second quarter, but added U.S. stimulus would have a spillover effect on the economy. German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the country’s 16 states agreed to extend social-distancing restrictions for another four weeks while calling for a strict lockdown over the Easter holiday. The U.K. instituted a ban on international travel, with a £5,000 fine for anyone leaving the country. Elsewhere, Oil fell 6.50% as new lockdowns in Europe sparked demand concerns, while Gold declined 0.65% on Dollar strength.
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